Welcome to A10 Talk’s Top 25 Player Countdown. Each day, we publish a new article counting down the 25 best players in the Atlantic 10 this past season. Today, we continue our countdown with #19 Mo Alie-Cox
For most A-10 fans it probably seems like the dreadlocked Ram has been at VCU for 10 years now. Close enough. Mo Alie-Cox has been saying “NO!” for four productive seasons with the Rams, blocking shots and throwing down monster dunks while collecting some all-conference along the way. Big Mo helped advance his team to four consecutive A-10 tournament title contests and four straight NCAA tournament appearances. As fun as that was however, the now NFL free agent (yes, I said NFL free agent) appears to be taking on a new challenge: working out for 20-plus NFL teams in hopes of becoming Atlantic 10 basketball’s big gridiron star.
Alie-Cox’s powerful style of play thrilled Ram fans for years. The Alexandria, VA native stuffed highlight reels with blocks and dunks with flying dreadlocks adding extra style points from 2013-2017. But if you had to choose a career performance you’d likely have to go with the then-junior’s 20-point, 8-rebound, 3-block performance in an NCAA tournament win against Oregon State. OSU’s 6’10 center Drew Eubanks was no match for the powerful 6’7 forward from VCU, as the Rams got 31 productive minutes from Alie-Cox that included 7-8 shooting and a perfect 6-6 free throw clip. Alie-Cox’s three blocks that morning in OKC were a part of a 255-block career collection. A month earlier Alie-Cox had a similarly effective evening, scoring 21 points in just 22 minutes of play against Hassan Martin and Co.in an easy win over Rhode Island. That performance was Alie-Cox’s career high prior to this season when he dumped 23 on the Flyers in a tough loss at Dayton.
He also did this, which counts as a strong one-play performance in a huge road win for the Rams last season at GW.
— MGL (@VCULitos) March 24, 2017
While we see the big dunks and blocks, a lot of what Mo does doesn’t show up in your standard box score. But numbers geeks like myself love to dig into the advanced analytics and see just how big of an impact Mo has had on the Rams. For example, did you know that Alie-Cox’s box plus/minus led the Atlantic 10 his sophomore and junior seasons? True story. Mo was ranked second in the A-10 in blocks percentage the past three seasons as well, helping secure some A-10 All-Defensive team hardware for the VCU Ram. He also checked in top-four status the past three seasons of A-10 play in effective field goal percentage. Simply put, VCU was a different team with Alie-Cox in the game from basically his sophomore season through graduation. He did all the little things (boxouts, hedging, drawing double, sometimes triple teams) that didn’t show up in the box score but all thing that helped VCU stack the wins. The Rams will have the new challenge of learning to play without him next year, a welcome site for the A-10 opposition.
Fun stat: Mo graduates VCU will a perfect 100% three-point shooting percentage, having hit his only three-point attempt at VCU, a “hey, why not” bomb as a freshman.
See above. Alie-Cox averaged at least 25 minutes per game for VCU since his sophomore season (and a solid 14.4 as a freshman) and finished his career with a ridiculous box plus/minus of +9. Not only is that career number for the big guy better than this year’s entire A-10 first team (including teammate JeQuan Lewis), so was his senior season bpm of 8.5. In short, Alie-Cox wasn’t a guy that just moved the needle for himself while on the floor, but for his teammates as well. He didn’t post the TJ Cline type of numbers that wins POY awards, instead, he just made his team better on both sides of the ball. A-10 fans might not have loved him as much as they should have during his time in the conference, but they’ll likely rally around him as a TE on their fantasy football team’s soon enough.
Previously: #20 Jared Terrell